History of mental illness (Defining abnormality (Statistical infrequency…
History of mental illness
Abnormal behaviour was supranatural and attributed to witchcraft, religion and demonic possession. It was the belief that mental illness was a punishment for wrongdoing. Treatment: say prayers, holy water, undertaking good deeds, exorcisms and trephining to release evil spirits.
Around 400 BC, a physician, Hippocrates argued mental illness was caused by an imbalance or excess of 4 bodily humours- phlegm, black bile, yellow bile and blood. They were all linked with different personality traits e.g blood and courage.
Treatment: purging the patient to restore balance, laxatives and bloodletting. Changes to lifestyle were also used
In the 19th century- mental illness attributed to psychological factors, rather than physical or spiritual ones. Freud suggested mental illness was due to unconscious processes in the brain, such as thoughts and emotions that we are unaware of, but still have influence over our behaviour.
Treatment: Freud's psychoanalysis (free association where thoughts are expressed as they occur) and dream analysis. Talking therapies- known today as cognitive behaviour therapy
In the 20th century- mental illness also explained by physical causes, such as abnormal brain structures or abnormal levels of neurotransmitters. This is now known aa the medical model.
Treatment: electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery (parts of brain removed) and psychopharmacology (drug therapy). Drug therapy is used the most today- based on mental illness being caused by a neurochemical disfunction
Abnormality is a deviation from a statistical norm- behaviour which occur infrequently are considered abnormal. This model can distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviour- some statistically abnormal behaviours are actually desirable e.g scoring low on the Beck Depression Inventory
Deviation from social norms
What is considered normal is determines by our societies view on how we ought to act- based on culture, gender age etc. Anybody whose behaviour lies outside these norms is considered abnormal. The definition does not distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviour e.g it would not count a low depression score as abnormal because society agrees that it isn't a negative attribute
Failure to function adequetely
Not being able to cope with everyday living, such as getting up and going to work, washing clothes, communicating with others etc. It can cause stress to the individual and those around them. Very culturally bound on how people think life should be lived
Deviation from ideal mental health
Johado suggested we should treat mental illness in a similar way we treat physical illness- creating a criteria for what can be seen as good physical health e.g normal blood pressure, can also be done for mental illness. She identified 6 categories, including self-attitudes and self-actualism. potential mental illness can be shown through an absence of one of the 6 categories
Categorising mental illness
International Statistical Classification of Diseases- currently on ICD-10 created by the World Health Organisation. It includes both mental and physical disorders, such as affective disorders under chapter V i.e bipolar
Used to classify disorders Worldwide
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- currently on addition 5, developed by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the standard system for classifying mental illness in the US. It only contains mental disorders, but lists as many as 300 broken down into 20 catagories.
Many changes over the 5 additions- for example homosexuality was removed as a mental disorder in DSM-3